Coping with depression and its effects

Depression can come in many forms.

“Sometimes that’s tied in with a loss of energy, being physically unable to get out of bed. Or taking a long time to do those tasks that are really simple, like brushing our hair or our teeth,” said Nayeli Hernandez Moctezuma, a licensed social worker with Counseling Services of Southern Minnesota. “Now it becomes a struggle with someone who’s experiencing depression.”

Moctezuma and fellow social worker Stephanie Trejo participated in a mental health awareness event Wednesday in the Centennial Student Union. 

Depression, they said, can cause a person to experience a full range of emotions. It can affect your day-to-day functioning.

“In college, there can be a lot of procrastination because you’re only one person and there’s like 50 million things that you have to do,” Trejo said. “So you’re like, well, there’s 100 tasks that I need to complete today. And I’m just not gonna do any of them.”

Hiding our emotions can be draining, physically and mentally. And we need to find people who we can trust and have conversations about the experiences, to have that safe space to share. 

“If you’re noticing that they might be depressed,” Trejo said. “Checking in with people and like if you’re close with them, you’re going to notice a change.”

Coping skills help manage negative emotions. Long-term reliance on unhealthy coping mechanisms (such as substance abuse) is not healthy.

“If every time I have a bad day at school, I’m going to go and buy chocolate cake, financially that’s not the best choice. And that can go for other things too. So you know, people turning to substances, drugs and alcohol. But that isn’t in reality, like benefitting us or helping us,” Moctezuma said.

Student Gabi Juan-Christiansen attended the event and said she wanted to work on her mental health, “to manage it better.”

Juan-Christiansen explains what she learned throughout the event, and her main takeaways.

“I learned a lot about how depression is not just a state of being,” Juan-Christiansen said. “You can fix it if you go to therapy.”

After the event, Juan-Christiansen mentioned her favorite part. 

“Just being able to talk freely being surrounded by people that look like me, and it’s always best to have the best where people just understand.”

Mara Maxana, a mental health counseling first-year graduate student, also got the chance to attend the event. She shared why she attended.

“I was more motivated to come when I found out we were having a Latino speaker,” Maxana said. “I’m also from that community and I don’t see too much latina counseling.”

There are healthy and unhealthy coping skills. Maxana mentioned the amount she learned from the types of mechanisms that were explained at the event.

“Someone might think that it’s helping them but it’s not helping them long term and that’s what I end up questioning,” she said.

There are many skills mentioned prevalent to people who suffer from depression. Maxana shares her main takeaways.

“The five senses, I know they don’t really talk about it too much, but there’s something about grounding. Find other ways to keep myself sharing.”

Header photo: Nayeli Hernandez Moctezuma and fellow social worker Stephanie Trejo participated in a mental health awareness event Wednesday in the Centennial Student Union. (Nate Tilahun/The Reporter)

Write to Biruk Mengesha at

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